When Maya Tepic and her family moved to the Gold Coast from Serbia in 2008, it was the start of a new life – and new world of opportunity.
With pre-school teaching qualifications, Maya volunteered and worked in several different teaching positions before we recruited her as manager of our Froggies Playground Child Minding Centre in 2010. And it sounds like she’s going to be here for a while.
“I love kids and I love my job – I can’t see myself doing anything else,” Maya says with a huge smile. “Kids are pure honest and you can learn a lot from hanging around them. All the kids are happy being here and everyone at the centre is so friendly, it’s a nice place to work.”
Maya’s passion for her job and her new life here is obvious. She and her husband were in the midst of the Kosovo War and endured 78 days of NATO bombing. Her daughter was born in the hospital basement while depleted uranium bombs rained down outside.
It took another five years before she and her husband were able to live a decent life. During that time her family lived by growing their own corn and soy, and raising chickens and pigs. If they needed money they could barter with their produce, and ended up selling their pigs to butcher and straw to factories in Italy.
Life was tough, and with the landscape poisoned by uranium, the future for her daughter and new son was bleak. They applied for a visa to come to Australia, which was accepted after a three-year wait.
Maya says life and freedom here couldn’t be better. They’ve got jobs, they’ve bought a house and the opportunities that their children have are far greater than they would have had back home.
Her daughter is now in Year 10 and looking towards a university education, something that would have been unlikely in Serbia. And her son is a mad-keen soccer player with the Surfers Paradise Apollo Under 10s, who have been unbeaten for the past two years and are now fundraising to travel to Canberra and compete in the international Kanga Cup next year. Keep an eye out for the fundraising signs around the centre and spare some change if you can – with the backing of the Sports Super Centre, he could be the next Socceroo!